Holy crap! This show just continues to get better and better. With this episode, it once again surpassed itself. This really was everything that an episodic series should be. And heck, this is why I’m a fan of the genre: because they’re able to put in episodes like this. What a trip.
To be fair though, the reason I’m a fan of this genre mostly stems from quite a few years ago. During the past few years the genre has dulled in a bit because it lost sight of what made it really special: the way in which it allows a much more diverse outlook on its story and setting compared to if it was just a continuous storyline. I’m not sure what caused the decline, but overall a big difference of episodic series of the last years is that nearly always, the episodic stories are kept similar to each other, with little chances to branch out, like what this episode of Un-Go did.
I’m not sure exactly why this happened. Heck, back in 2003 you’d even have series that were collections of short stories that are completely unrelated to each other (Human Crossing, Sentimental Journey, Rumic Theater). That’s something that’s completely unthinkable nowadays. Probably a factor was that around 5 years ago, fillers got really notorious. With the arrival of the internet, and how the number of anime each season exploded, audiences got less patient and random episodes that were meant to just fill time pretty much died out apart from kids’ series and popular shounen series. This lead to a huge decrease in filler episodes, but also episodes that want to try a different story for a change.
The suspense in this episode was really great. It was a very interesting idea to just stuff the male lead into this position where nothing makes sense, and it’s up to him to figure out not just what’s going on (this probably is an illusion), but also why everything is happening. It was delightfully paranoid, and the pacing of this episode was completely different from the rest of the series. I also liked how the actresses were used in this episode: on one hand their characterization was very good as they tried to relate to the plot in their own ways, but on the other hands this was about a movie that has girls running around in their underwear as some sort of criticism of modern entertainment. Un-Go may technically not be episodic because of how some of its episodes flow into each other, but it has the same air, in which it tries to flesh its setting and themes out through vastly different cases, and individual episodes that could very well be all perfectly fine standalone stories.
Rating: *** (Awesome)